Bonnie St. John to Speak at NYUAD's Sixth Commencement

St. John is a Paralympic ski medalist, Fortune 500 business consultant, Rhodes Scholar, former White House official, and best-selling author

Press Release

Bonnie St. John will offer remarks at NYU Abu Dhabi’s graduation ceremony on May 27, 2019. NYU Abu Dhabi’s graduating class is comprised of some 270 students from more than 75 countries around the world. The graduation ceremony will be held at NYU Abu Dhabi’s campus on Saadiyat Island.

Despite having her right leg amputated at age five, St. John became the first African-American ever to win medals in Winter Olympic competition, taking home a silver and two bronze medals in downhill events at the 1984 Paralympics in Innsbruck, Austria.

St. John has achieved the highest levels of success in a variety of endeavors throughout her life. In addition to her success as a Paralympic athlete, she is a best-selling author, a highly sought after keynote speaker, a television and radio personality, a business owner, and a Fortune 500 leadership consultant.

She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard University in 1986, and won a Rhodes Scholarship to the University of Oxford, taking a Master of Letters degree in Economics. Upon her return to the United States, St. John was appointed by President Bill Clinton as a director for Human Capital Issues on the White House National Economic Council.

The celebrated author of seven books, St. John's most recent book, Micro-Resilience: Minor Shifts for Major Boosts in Focus, Drive and Energy, outlines a quick, easy, and immediately effective program of tools and techniques to give readers a competitive edge in today's dynamic world of changes and challenges.



“We are deeply honored to announce Bonnie St. John as the keynote speaker for our sixth Commencement. A dedicated athlete, best-selling author, Rhodes Scholar, and former member of the White House National Economic Council, Ms. St. John has distinguished herself through her extraordinary resilience, commitment to fostering a more cooperative world, and dedication to empowering women to lead. Recognized by NBC Nightly News as ‘one of the five most inspiring women in America,’ she will offer to the Class of 2019 a model of excellence and of humanity that inspires their aspirations and achievements over the years ahead.”

NYU Abu Dhabi Vice Chancellor Al Bloom

St. John has been featured extensively in both national and international media including: Today, CNN, CBS Morning News, NBC News, PBS, NPR, and The New York Times, as well as People, “O” and Essence magazines, to name just a few.

Speaking on behalf of the graduating class will be NYUAD student Rayan Elsharkawi. Raised in Egypt, Elsharkawi is majoring in Computer Science and Economics, with a specialization in Finance. Emirati student Majida Al Maktoum, who was recently selected as a 2019 Rhodes Scholar, will also offer brief welcome remarks.

This ceremony will be NYUAD’s sixth Commencement since graduating its inaugural class in 2014.

About NYU Abu Dhabi

NYU Abu Dhabi is the first comprehensive liberal arts and research campus in the Middle East to be operated abroad by a major American research university. NYU Abu Dhabi has integrated a highly selective undergraduate curriculum across the disciplines with a world center for advanced research and scholarship. The university enables its students in the sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities, and arts to succeed in an increasingly interdependent world and advance cooperation and progress on humanity’s shared challenges. NYU Abu Dhabi’s high-achieving students have come from over 115 countries and speak over 115 languages. Together, NYU's campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai form the backbone of a unique global university, giving faculty and students opportunities to experience varied learning environments and immersion in other cultures at one or more of the numerous study-abroad sites NYU maintains on six continents.